SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- A San Jose startup has grand plans to make better use of private driveways near the campus of San Jose State University, by renting them out to students and faculty for parking.
Park Stash, which describes itself as the Airbnb of private parking, allows drivers to make reservations for spots, thereby reducing the time, stress and expense of driving around searching for an opening.
The homeowners set their hours and rates, which range from $1 to $5 per hour. Co-founder Sameer Saran estimates homeowners could make up to $200 per month. However, after knocking on doors in the Naglee Park neighborhood adjacent to SJSU, he found many of the early adopters were drawn to the environmental benefits as well.
"So are you really thinking about just yourself, or you want to give back to the community, and think about a sustainable environment not just for this generation, but for the generation that comes after us?" said Saran.
Saran, 25, who recently graduated from SJSU's computer engineering masters program, says Park Stash was born out of frustration after years of suffering through the university's parking situation. According to the university's own data, 20,000 students on average drive to school and compete for a mere 5,500 spots at the main campus.
"Oh my god, it really sucks," said Saran who spent $192 on a campus parking permit. "I was spending 30 minutes to park. For me, I have missed classes and exams because of it."
Christy Stevens is one of 30 homeowners currently signed up and says online neighborhood discussions have inflamed passions on both sides.
"There's always going to be change. We live in a lovely neighborhood. I think people understand how lovely it is. And if you trust them that they won't abuse it, I can't think of a way to share what our neighborhood and community has, so give it a chance," said Stevens.
However, longtime neighbor April Halberstadt has her reservations. Halberstadt successfully petitioned the city to restrict parking in front of her Naglee Park home, requiring paid permits year round. The restrictions came after students parked at her home around the clock for years, dumping garbage and causing a nuisance.
Halberstadt is weary of inviting strangers back into the tight knit neighborhood once again. But she is curious to see if Park Stash lives up to its potential, but would not be surprised if it fails to gain traction.
"I think that there's going to be some problems with it," Halberstadt said.
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